Celebrating 12 Pakistani Superwomen
Tehreem Khan | Hyderabad, Pakistan Throughout the course of Pakistan's history, we have heard names of many great women such a Fatimah Ali Jinnah, Begham Shaista Ikramullah, Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yousufzai, Ayesha Rabia and Arfa Karim, who not only initiated but also accelerated the advancement of women in their own ways. But there are still many modern day women whose sacrifices and achievements are yet to be recognized. Here is my list of 10 Pakistani superwomen. 1. Shamim Akhtar: Overcoming social obstacles and a personal financial crisis, Shamim Akhtar became the first Pakistani female truck driver. Her story inspires and encourages many women to come forth and participate in the advancement of the transport sector. You can find out more about her story here: 2. Tasneem Zehra Hussain: Tasneem Zehra Hussain is a Pakistani theoretical physicist and an assistant professor of Physics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. She is one of the few Pakistanis who has a doctorate in Physics, and the first Pakistani string theorist. She is a role model for many young girls, and has been invited as a guest speaker in various schools and colleges to promote science and technology in Pakistan. Find out more about her here: 3. Bapsi Sidhwa: Bapsi Sidhwa is an Pakistani-American novelist who strives to bring women's issues in the sub-continent to the public through her books, and has received the Sitara-e-imtiaz award for her amazing work. Despite all her efforts and achievements not many people know her name. Find out more about here here: 4. Samina Khayal Baig: Despite the norms of thinking women are weak and fragile, Samina Khayal Baig is a high-altitude mountaineer who in 2013 climbed Mount Everest and was the first Pakistani to do so. Furthermore, she became the first Muslim to climb all seven summits in 2014. You can find out more about her here: 5. Ms. Tahira Qazi: It wouldn’t be wrong to call Ms. Tahira Qazi “The second mother of the Nation” after Fatima Ali Jinnah. She was the principal of Army Public School, Peshawar. During the terrorist attack on the school in 2014, she took an oath to protect her students. Ms. Qazi stood in front of her students and said to the terrorist, “I am their mother. Talk to me.” She embraced matyrdom after taking a bullet to her head. May her soul rest in peace. 6. Minhal Sohail: Minhal sohail is the first Pakistani women shooter to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Although she didn’t win a gold medal, she scored the 28th position and made us all proud. Find out more about her story here: 7 and 8. Rukhsana Parveen and Sofia Javed: Rukhsana and Sofia became the first Pakistani women to bring back medals home by participating in boxing at the 2016 South Asian Games. They truly are incredible! 9. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy scooped up not only one but two Oscars, while being the first Pakistani to do so. Sharmeen won in the Best Documentary Short category for A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness in the 88th Academy awards. The documentary sheds light on honour killings in Pakistan by highlighting the story of a teenage girl shot in the face by her own family. You can find out more about her here: 10. Rafia Baig: Rafia Baig’s is a police officer and the first female member of the Prestigious Bomb Group. She is not only the first Pakistani female to uphold the role of a bomb disposal officer, but also the first women in Asia to do so. You can find out more about her here: 11. Ayesha Farooq: Ayesha made history when she became Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot in 2013. Ayesha’s status as a fighter pilot has opened new avenues for Pakistani women in uniform. You can find out more about her here: These incredible women have paved the way for other girls to dream big and pursue their passions. Their stories are worth sharing, and their journeys are awe-inspiring. I hope you felt the same when learning about these Superwomen, and are motivated to follow your dreams too. 12. Maryam Mukhtiar: Maryam Mukhtiar took admission in Electrical Engineering at NED University, but soon realized that engineering is not her passion and asked her father if she could become a GD pilot. Her father told her that it is not something easy. There are only a few students selected as GD pilots from the whole country. She asked him to let her apply once. Her father agreed and she started preparing for the test and eventually got selected. During her two years of training, she faced many difficulties through which her mother encouraged her throughout that time. Maryam graduated as a fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force in 2014, along with six other women. One day when she was on her routine operational mission with Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi, their plane FT-7PG crashed near Kundian, Mianwali. Both the pilots were told to eject, but they decided to take the jet out of the densely populated area to save the people there. In doing so, she lost the appropriate height required for ejection. Her co-pilot managed to survive with few injuries as he ejected seconds before. Maryam's death was declared a martyrdom. She is known for being Pakistan's first female martyred pilot in the line of duty. She received Tamgha-e-Basalat by Pakistan's President at the time, Mamnoon Hussain. May her soul rest in peace.